Is it possible to use a Nvidia Tegra K1 SoC with a normal motherboard?

For a project, we are trying to do real-time analysis of MEG data. We are using QNX for our RTOS. We'd like to utilize a GPU because it will speed up our computations considerably, but the only GPU that has CUDA (a method of using the GPU for this exact purpose) that is compatible with QNX is the Tegra K1. I am not experience enough (I know next to nothing about SoC slightly more about hardware in general) to know how to use this thing, or even if it's possible.

We would like it to work on a regular server rack-mounted motherboard.

  • You are going to have to explain what a "normal" motherboard is exactly. Before anyone comments that I know what the user means, if I knew what the author means, I would be answering the author's question instead of writing this comment. – Ramhound Sep 24 '15 at 11:21
  • The jetson k1 should be able to run QNX just fine....not sure if the ARM version of QNX is free though...I'm sure if you are a research group that QNX would give it to you either free or very cheap. BTW, you can also use the real time extensions of Linux to have a real time 4 ARM CPU 192 GPU core machine.... – user509932 Oct 15 '15 at 18:58
  • I think the fact that it can run QNX is clear. The issue is really whether you can stick the processor from it in a 'standard' motherboard. – Journeyman Geek Oct 16 '15 at 1:48

Almost certainly not.

Typically Motherboards will only work with specific processors with the right socket type and in theory architecture. The 'standard' motherboard in most cases would be x86 and supporting some current intel or amd socket type.

The k1 is arm (which in itself shouldn't be an issue), not socketed as far as I know, and considering your question, I'm doubtful building a motherboard for this specific case is an option. One does not simply drop a k1 into a standard motherboard as you would a desktop grade intel or AMD processor. This isn't a unique issue to this processor either - you'd find the same set of problems with most phone/tablet grade processors and any BGA varient processor. This SOC is simply not meant for this.

In the case of the K1, the only real way to use it for the sort of use case you're talking about is using a dev board like the jetson tk1. Looking at the price/form factor though you could probably. Its not socketed anyway, and you wouldn't be able to find an appropriate motherboard.

You might be able to rack mount it inside a regular 1U case, but this would likely end up being a fabrication issue more than a computer issue.

  • Is there anyway to connect it via PCIe or some other expansion slot? – GreySage Sep 24 '15 at 15:05
  • The jetson is a computer, not a expansion card. So no. Think of it as something like a raspberry pi. – Journeyman Geek Sep 24 '15 at 15:10
  • If you want to connect a pci e card to it, you'd need to find a mini pcie -> pci breakout and hope it works – Journeyman Geek Sep 24 '15 at 15:11
  • Yes, I know what the jetson is. I meant if you could attach the K1 to a motherboard via PCIe, but I guess not. – GreySage Sep 25 '15 at 16:03

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